Oklahoma City — The 2009 Jim Thorpe Award preseason “watch list” announced today includes 31 of the nation’s best defensive backs as the leading candidates for this year’s trophy. Among the candidates is Ohio State senior safety Kurt Coleman. Coleman was third on the team in tackles last season with 78 and led the team with four interceptions.
The Thorpe Award is one of college football’s most sought after and prestigious awards. It is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, a man who excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on offense, but also was an awesome defensive back. Recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply as “The Legend”, Thorpe also played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
The Jim Thorpe Award “watch list” is determined by analysis of the pre-season All-American teams listed in at least six pre-season college football annual magazines. Four points are awarded for first team, three points for second team, two points for third and one point for honorable mentions. This procedure determines approximately 30-40 players on the pre-season watch list. This list is not final and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses.
A “Screening Committee” of Jim Thorpe Association members follows these players throughout the season, watching games and researching information sources to grade Thorpe Award candidates on the basis of performance on the field, athletic ability and character. The committee meets on the first Monday in November to narrow the field to 10 or 12 semi-finalists.
The committee meets again on the Monday before Thanksgiving to select the three finalists. The names of these finalists are submitted to a national panel of about 50 sports writers, sportscasters, coaches and former players who vote to determine the winner. The three finalists are invited to the ESPN College Football Awards Show, and the winner is announced during the show.
Formal presentation of the Jim Thorpe Award takes place at ceremonies in Oklahoma City on the first Tuesday in February following the national signing date for college football recruits.
National College Football Awards Association
The Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association’s official Web site, www.NCFAA.org.
Javier Arenas – SR – Alabama Duke Ihenacho – SR – San Jose State
Aaron Berry – SR – Pittsburgh Reshad Jones – JR – Georgia
Eric Berry – JR – Tennessee Jordan Lake – SR – Baylor
Ahmad Black – JR – Florida Myron Lewis – SR – Vanderbilt
Morgan Burnett -J R – Georgia Tech Trevard Lindley – SR – Kentucky
Kendric Burey – JR – North Carolina Taylor Mays – SR -Univ. of Southern California
Crezdon Butler – SR – Clemson Amari Spievey – JR – Iowa
Kam Chancellor -SR – Virginia Tech Darrell Stuckey – SR -Kansas
Chris Chandler – SR – Clemson Earl Thomas – SO – Texas
Barry Church – SR – Toledo Syd’Quan Thompson – SR – California
Kurt Coleman – SR – Ohio State Walter Thurmond – SR – Oregon
Parrish Cox – SR -Oklahoma State University Alterraun Verner – SR – UCLA
Ras-I Dowling – JR – Virginia Stephen Virgil – SR – Virginia Tech
Van Eskridge – SR – East Carolina Deunta Williams – JR – North Carolina
Dominique Franks – JR – Oklahoma Kyle Wilson – SR – Boise State
Joe Haden – JR – Florida